| Cycling |

S.A.F.E. Riders School Miami on Drunk Driving

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

A group of eight cyclists biking around the state stopped in Miami Tuesday to talk about drunk driving and safe driving. The group, called 180 S.A.F.E. Ride, is comprised of five first responders. Stay Alive from Education, based in Orlando, brings its "Street Smart" program into high schools and colleges, where paramedics and fire rescuers tell real-life stories dealing with people who've made bad choices, especially about drinking.

In case you haven't left your house -- after, say, noon — in a while, drunk driving is a big, big problem in Florida, and Miami-Dade is no exception. The county had 2314 alcohol-related crashes in 2005 (figures aren't out for 2006). The city of Miami alone had 500. There were 74 alcohol-related deaths county-wide. 180 SAFE Ride is using the state-wide trip to rally attention for their cause and to visit schools around the state — the whole bike thing is essentially a gimmick to make heads turn, and an effective one. As their web site shows, they've garnered a good bit of media attention already.

Ironically, the group was escorted to Fire Rescue Headquarters by the county Motorcycle Emergency Response Team. Jim Russell, who founded the group and masterminded the bike ride, says he found the gesture considerate: "Miami really threw its doors open to us," he said.

Well, maybe. But maybe the riders would have found their reception a little colder without the motorcycle escort — ever tried to bike A1A? Obvious bike route that it is, the road is one of the least accommodating to bicycles in the county.

Which brings the Bike Blog to this point — it's great that the county welcomes a group that condemns drunk driving. But until bike accommodations and public transportation become more than symbolic talking points — until they get good enough that people actually stop driving — all that pomp and ceremony is unlikely to save many lives.

If Miami-Dade wants fewer traffic fatalities, the Bike Blog suggests that it set a new goal for itself: fewer cars. --Isaiah Thompson

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.